Healthy, homemade chicken nuggets

By | March 11, 2013 | Food & Recipes

Healthy, homemade chicken nuggets

Chicken nuggets are a favorite of most kids. I know mine would eat nuggets every day, if I’d let them! They’re found on the menu in most restaurants and even in school cafeteria hot lunches. At the store you can find them taking up entire freezer sections, with different shapes and varieties for kid appeal. They also come in refrigerated boxed lunches. The ingredients alone will scare any semi-health conscious person.  Yet, parents buy them because kids eat them.

The prepackaged, store bought chicken nugget lunch is quite a disappointment. The first thing we noticed was how little food it contained: Four processed nuggets, ketchup for dipping, and two sandwich cookies.

Where’s the nutrition? My child surely won’t be full on a meal like this. Most importantly, the mix of chemicals that make up what they use as nuggets can hardly be called food. Because of this, we’re happy to share with you our version of homemade nuggets. They’re silly-easy to make and you can freeze them and have them ready for when you need them! Talk about convenience.

The MOMables™ lunch version contains four fresh homemade chicken nuggets (recipe below), dipping sauce, and two sandwich cookies. In addition, ours has the fruit & vegetable servings missing from the boxed lunch; crunchy carrot sticks and juicy grapes. The only reason to pay for the boxed lunch is for the colorful box; but since you can get some pretty cool lunch boxes now-a-days, it’s a moot point.

MOMables menu plans provide you with healthy, fresh meals you can make in 10 minutes or less, but unlike store bought lunches, they allow flexibility in portioning and a choice of sides so you can customize each lunch to suit your family’s tastes and appetites. We even tell you what to make and prep ahead so you can save time and money on wasted food.

MOMables Homemade Chicken Nuggets


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1 tsp Zatarain’s Creole Seasoning, divided (optional) sub paprika
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs


  1. In large bowl, combine chicken, oatmeal, half the grated parmesan (1/8 cup), half the Zatarain’s seasoning (or paprika) (1/2 tsp), garlic powder and pepper. Knead dry ingredients into ground chicken.
  2. Moisten hands to prevent sticking and form 1 tbsp of chicken mixture into a ball. Press into a cookie cutter for shaped nuggets or flatten with fingers for a basic nugget shape.
  3. In a small bowl, combine breadcrumbs with remaining Zatarain’s seasoning and grated parmesan.
  4. Press nuggets into bread crumb mixture and turn over, patting crumbs into surface to coat evenly.At this point you can freeze, or…
  5. To bake: Preheat oven to 375° F. Arrange nuggets on cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray or lined with parchment paper. Lightly spray nuggets themselves with cooking spray or olive oil for a crispier coating (optional).
  6. Bake 15-20 minutes, turning once, and checking – don’t overcook! These baked nuggets won’t really brown (unless you pan fry in oil). If browning is desired, place under broiler for a couple of minutes at the end of cooking.

These nuggets don’t have to be baked right away; you can freeze the breaded nuggets on a cookie sheet, then transfer them to an airtight bag or container and store them in the freezer until you’re ready to bake as few or as many as you like for up to 3 months. Add about 3-5 minutes to your usual cooking time if baking from frozen.

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Laura Fuentes

Laura Fuentes shows parents how to make fresh school lunches over at MOMables™. She’s a wife, mother of 3, and a lunch enthusiast who insists on healthy, wholesome food for her family. On her personal blog, Super Glue Mom, she writes about managing motherhood on a deadline. She’s also a food contributor and recipe developer to numerous sites and helps busy parents overcome the difficulties of cooking real food in a hurry. For more lunch ideas or to connect with Laura, visit the MOMables blog, Twitter, Facebook, or Pinterest.

tell us what you think


debrako66 May 2, 2013 at 11:50 am

These look perfect! I have a toddler that has decided that he wants
to eat nothing but chicken nuggets for dinner, and now I can oblige
(some of the time)! I love the cookie cutter shape idea, but do not have
any that are small enough. I am off to shop for ingredients today, and
for small cookie cutters tomorrow!  I can’t wait to try this, I hope Mr. Picky likes them!
a post with my other new favorite quick and easy recipe:

lilyk August 10, 2015 at 12:07 am

This recipe looks very tasty. Thanks for sharing!